TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said there will be no demonstrations on Dec 2, 2016, because it was only (we have agreed) a commitment to hold joint prayers.
"There will be no demonstrations. There would be a joint prayer, which will be held after the Friday Prayers," Jokowi said after attending the 45th anniversary ceremony of the Indonesian Civil Servant Corps (Korpri) at the National Monument (Monas) Square in Jakarta on Tuesday.
He said that there will be a joint prayer, based on the commitment of societal elements.
It has been reported earlier that Muslims will hold a second Peaceful Defend Islam Rally on Dec 2. The planned rally is the follow-up of the first Peaceful Defend Island Rally organized on Nov 4, 2016, that demanded a legal action against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) who was accused of having blasphemed the Holy Koran.
Meanwhile, the National Movement Supporting Ulema Council Instruction (GNPF MUI) and the state police agreed earlier that the planned Dec 2 rally would be concentrated at the Monas Square in the city.
GNPF MUI, organized by the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), planned to hold a Friday prayers at Jakartas main roads of Jalan Sudirman and Jalan Thamrin, as part of the demonstration demanding the arrest of Ahok.
However, police has said they would not allow Friday prayers on the city roads, as they would block public activities.
Police chief General Tito Karnavian said FPI could hold Friday prayers at the Grand Istiqlal Mosque, the Monas Square, or Banteng Square.
Tito has said there are indications that the planned demonstration would be used by certain parties for other purpose, such as to create chaos and to topple the president.
Police have named Ahok a criminal suspect for his statement allegedly insulting Islam and the Holy Quran, when he spoke to people in the Thousand Island off Jakarta, citing a Quran verse.
Observers said the rally is politically motivated to block Ahok from seeking reelection.
Ahok is to contest the gubernatorial election in February, 2017, with rivals including Agus Harimuti Yudhojono, a son of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhojono, and Anies Baswedan, a former education minister.
The countrys largest non-political Islamic organizations Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammddiyah and even MUI have said they would not take part in the rally.
NU leader Said Aqil Siradj said Friday prayers on public roads are not valid.
"Friday prayers on the road are not valid, especially if it would disturb peace and infringe other peoples rights," Aqil said.
On Monday, police and GNPF MUI agreed at a meeting facilitated by MUI to concentrate the Friday prayers at the Monas Square.
Monas Square could accommodate up to 700,000 demonstrators, Tito said.
"Finally, it was agreed that the Dec 2 rally would be held at the Monas Square from 08:00am to 13:00 local time," he pointed out.
Tito has coordinated with the military chief General Gatot Nurmantyo to guarantee security during the rally.
"We will prepare a place at the Monas square. This place could accommodate 600 thousand to 700,000 people. If necessary, we would prepare a place at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan. We will cooperate with the Indonesian Red Cross and city administration police (Satpol)," he asserted.